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Drop the Weight with EJ: Five Steps to Letting Go of ‘All or Nothing’ Thinking

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Last time, we discussed the fact that taking an all or nothing approach to your weight loss efforts can hurt you rather than propel you forward towards your goal. If you’re ready to learn how to let go of this type of thinking, then this post will help you do so. {Click here to read my earlier post}

The goal of the five step process that I’m sharing with you below is to break down your big goal into smaller individual tasks that I’ll call habits from now on. These habits are those that are necessary to help you reach your goal and maintain your success for the long term.

The reason why a habit-based approach like this works is that you’re less focused on the big scary goal of losing “X” number of kilograms and more focused on the things you can control in your environment, in your day, and in your overall life to get there.

Shifting your focus like this will help you feel empowered and also help you embody the fact that your weight is influenced by the choices you make each and every day and that focusing on habits will help you make the right choices regardless of what’s going on in your life.

So let’s begin.

Step One: Make a List of What “All” Looks Like
While trying to do everything that’s necessary for you to lose weight at once is less than ideal, you still need to have an idea of the habits (tasks) that you’ll need to adopt.

Making this list of these habits can be overwhelming because it shows you everything you need to be doing differently from what you’re doing now. But it’s critical for you to remind yourself of the goal of the exercise of listing it all is not to show you just how far you are from where you want to be. The goal of this exercise is to help you create a map to get there using the daily habits that you live by.

Having a list of habits like this will help you adopt them one at a time and also help you keep your eye on what really matters – your daily choices.

Step Two: Make the List More Manageable
After getting the full list of the habits that’ll help you get the body you want, the next step is to make the list more manageable by categorizing and prioritizing your initial list.

Pick habit categories that make sense for you. Examples include “healthy eating habits,” ” exercise habits,” and “healthy behavior habits.” Then put each of the habits on your big list in the category that it belongs.

You can also take this a step further by listing it according to importance or priority. One more way to prioritize your list is by ease, from hardest to easiest or vice versa.

Step Three: Pick a Time Frame
Before you pick your time frame, you need to remember that change takes time. It didn’t take you 30 days to get the body you have now so you can’t expect it to take 30 days to get the body you want.

Rather than a time frame for reaching your overall goal, I’m referring to the timeframe that you would use to tackle each of the items on your list. Again please don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of time it would take to get through all the items on your list.

Remember it took you time to get here, and also remember that you never want to be here again so it’s worth it to take the time to make these habits second nature.

A good time frame for each habit is between 14 to 30 days. Go for consistent execution over perfection and pick your “measure” of consistency. The measure I like to use is the 80/20 rule i.e. I’ll consider the habit time frame a success if I’m able to live that habit for 24 (80%) of the 30 days.

Step Four: Plan for Success
For each of the habit on your list, you’re going to write out what you need to live it. For instance:

  • If it has something to do with your diet – would you need buy in for your family because it might involve changing how they eat too?
  • If it’s for exercise – would you need to buy equipment or hire a trainer?
  • If its behavior related, would you need to talk to your husband to help you out?

Whatever it is write it down. This will allow you to know what you need in advance of when you need it. It will also allow you to get organized much quicker when you’re switching from one habit to another.

Step Five: Execute
When executing, you can choose to tackle your habits one at a time. I prefer to tackle then three at a time and while that sounds counter intuitive, it’s really one goal from each category.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you choose a method of keeping track of what you’re doing. An easy way to do this is to make your mini goal SMART and check off everyday that you achieve that smart goal or you can make it a simple yes or no statement like I do.

I use a checklist called The Power of Three Checklist to keep track of my mini goal adherence and evaluate my performance at the end of my chosen time frame of 30 days.You’ll need to sign up to my newsletter to download a copy of the checklist, but I think it’s worth it.

Now it’s time to take action.

Over to You:
You’ll only get the benefit of the information you got from this article if you act on it. So go through the five step process and pick out the first three (or first) behavior that you want to tackle, set your start date for tackling that behavior, and execute.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Rmarmion

EJ (Ejiro) is a writer/engineer/mom. She writes about healthy living to help busy professional women lose weight, keep it off—and actually feel amazing.She created a Registered Trademarked System (VAFs®) for healthy eating for weight loss and wrote the book Weight Loss for High Achievers to help busy women lose weight and let go of the idea that the only way to succeed is to diet for the rest of their lives.With EJ's methods, dieting isn't required and neither is spending hours in the gym for meager results.P.S. If you want to get the goal-crushing motivation to reach your weight loss goal, then you'll want to get the first chapter of EJ's book for FREE. Click here to get it now.

1 Comment

  1. Grapes

    September 30, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Very helpful and insightful, especially now that i am about to kick-start my weight loss regime all over again.

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